Vanessa D. Thaxton–Ward, Ph.D.
Michael D. Harris, Ph.D.
William R. Harvey, Ed.D.
In 1968, a year after the groundbreaking Wall of Respect mural was completed in Chicago, a group of artists, several of whom worked on the mural, came together to form an artist collective called COBRA (Collective of Black Revolutionary Artists). The Founding members were Jeff Donaldson, Wadsworth Jarrell and his wife Jae, Gerald Williams, and Barbara Jones. We are making our 50th year of existence this year and remain the longest running artists collective in the art world.
Because a group of European artists also called themselves “COBRA” (Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam), our group became “AfriCOBRA” (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists), and currently we are “AfriCOBRA Now”, a name to distinguish between the period after Donaldson’s death in 2004 and the earlier period.
Artists have come and gone from the group over the years, and Donaldson and Murry DePillars died while active members. The current membership includes Napoleon Jones–Henderson and Nelson Stevens, both who joined in Chicago as the group expanded to ten. Frank Smith and James Phillips, who became members in the mid–1970s after the group moved its base to Washington, D.C. coinciding with Donaldson’s move to Howard University to chair the Department of Art. Adger Cowans, Akili Ron Anderson, and myself joined in the late 1970s, and newest members Kevin Cole (2003), and Renée Stout (2017).
The International Review of African American Art graciously has allowed me to edit this edition of the journal themed “AfriCOBRA Turns 50.” Wadsworth Jarrell has contributed an excerpt from his forthcoming book from Duke University Press about the founding of AfriCOBRA in Chicago 50 years ago. Melanee Harvey, Ph.D., has provided an essay exploring the work of James Phillips. Images of art and members of the group from over the years in this issue will give insight into the shifting aesthetics, membership and moments within our history. We hope you will enjoy this closer look at us and who we are, have been, and continue to be.
—Excerpt from “COBRA: Collective of Black Revolutionary Artists” by Michael D. Harris, Ph.D.
Feature Articles and Contributors:
“A Visual Art Proposal”, Wadsworth Jarrell
“AfriCOBRA Now, an Aesthetic Reflection”, Michael D. Harris, Ph.D.
“The Rhythmic Synergy of James Phillips: Assessing a Legacy of Black Collective Art Practice”, Melanee C. Harvey, Ph.D.
“AfriCOBRA Now! A Review of the New York Show”, Renee Royale
Title: The International Review of African American Art
Publisher: The Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia
Publication Date: 2018
Binding: Pictorial Softcover
Book Condition: Excellent
Book Type: Quarterly Magazine
All books are padded and wrapped carefully. Most are shipped in a box, unless very small, in which case they will be shipped in a padded envelope.